If you want to have an elegant B&B all to yourself, book a stay right before Christmas. Sure, you’re taking a risk with weather and you might miss some of those delightful people wearing bulldog faces who will ram you right in the ankles with a Walmart buggy in their quest to get to those $3.75 towels before you do, but we all have difficult choices to make. I made one of those tough calls this season and whisked my mom away to St. Mary’s, Georgia, a must-see place if you love quaint areas on the water and have a strong predilection for seafood.
As we rolled into town, years seemed to recycle themselves into the past. The downtown area included unique stores and restaurants; and the beautiful, old churches recalled a time of horse and buggy before horsepower and asphalt became the religious requirement of the day. Mom loved our B&B and spent her time popping into unoccupied bedrooms in order to coo at the armchairs and to test the validity of the wood with a series of knocks before declaring it a respectable antique.
On Monday I devised a plan that fell into the category of win-win: Mom would hit an antique mall while I met Lauren for a cup of coffee and a stroll around the park. Once we deposited Mom outside of her personal Nirvana, Lauren and I doubled back for a latte and walk.
Although the park was ideal with half a dozen swings lining a path that faced the ocean, I had to pause and speculate over the sign that admonished visitors to watch their diction while on the premises. With such lovely surroundings, I couldn’t imagine the need for such an edict unless this was a frequent stop for pirates, truck drivers, or overwrought administrative assistants whose sole task was to spend the day making photocopies that required hole-punching, collating, stapling and at least two toner changes per job. So I simply shrugged, and we chose a spot so Lauren could tell me how married life had been treating her. About five minutes into the conversation, the necessity of the sign became clear.
“So we’re going to split the holiday between my family and his,” Lauren said, as she slapped her upper arm. “We’ll go to my house first,” and then she nailed her thigh, “then he’ll come back to work for a day,” she popped the side of her neck, “and then we’ll journey together to his parents’ house.” She punctuated this last sentence with a swat to the elbow.
“It’s these darn No See ‘Ums. They’re eating me alive.” Lauren rubbed a spot on her forearm that was quickly turning pink.
“We could try rocking the swing to make it harder for them to bite a moving target, but that will only last about thirty seconds before I get motion sickness. I can barely roll over in the bed without needing a Dramamine patch.”
“Let’s try a different location.”
So we did. But the results were much the same. And although I had to marvel at the fact that the No See ‘Ums turned up their noses at me when I’m normally a mosquito buffet, this mutant power of immunity was of little consequence to Lauren who was making enough arm movements to reroute overhead planes. We finally admitted defeat and left.
When I pulled the car in front of the antique mall, Mom came out practically empty-handed, an unusual phenomenon after her confrontation with such vast square footage. “You didn’t find a bargain, Mom?”
“No,” she sighed. “I just didn’t see anything I liked.”
It must have been a No See ‘Um day on all fronts.
© 2014 – Traci Carver